by Brian Lipton


Bon-Ton Stores Inc. on Tuesday announced a 1.9 percent decrease in fourth-quarter sales for the 13-week holiday period that ended January 30, along with fourth-quarter net income of $50.6 million, or $2.42 per share, an almost 30 percent drop from 2014. Adjusted EBITDA totaled $94 million, a steep decrease from an Adjusted EBITDA of $113 million the prior year.

For fiscal year 2015, Bon-Ton recorded a net loss of $57.1 million, or $2.90 a share. In fiscal 2014, the company recorded a net loss of $7 million, or 36 cents per share. For the year, total sales dipped 1.4 percent to $2.72 billion.

Despite the disappointing results, Kathryn Bufano, the company’s president and CEO, chose to deliver a positive message. “Despite external headwinds and unseasonable weather that continued into the fourth quarter, we successfully managed elements within our control, reducing SG&A expense for the year and ending the period with inventories below prior year levels. We were pleased with our progress made on a number of strategic initiatives, including the introduction of key new brands and the expansion of localized merchandise content. Our omnichannel sales achieved double-digit growth and we increased our online capacity with our new, fully-automated West Jefferson eCommerce facility. As we continue to execute on our key initiatives in 2016, we look to deliver an improved gross margin rate and gross profit dollars through prudent inventory management, increased sell-thru of regular price merchandise and greater efficiencies in our distribution network.”